KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda said on Sunday it had launched a road construction project in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo aimed at boosting trade between the two countries.

The sites for the roads have been handed over to the contractor, Dott Services Limited, a Ugandan construction company, the government said in a statement on Sunday. He added that the roads “will open the eastern part of the country (DRC) to cross-border trade with Uganda”.

The statement did not give a cost for the 223 km (138 miles) of roads, which will link Uganda to the eastern Congo towns of Beni, Goma and Butembo. Uganda had announced plans to build roads in Congo in 2019.

Uganda is keen to tap into the market in eastern Congo, where decades of insecurity have meant local manufacturing is virtually non-existent and the population is dependent on imports of goods ranging from textiles and building materials to food and drinks.

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Better access to trade with Congo would also help Uganda make up for lost export revenue after Rwanda, once a major market for Ugandan goods, closed its common border with Uganda more than two years ago. year.

At a road works handover ceremony, Congolese Minister of Infrastructure and Public Works Alexi Gisaro Muvunyi said the roads would “create jobs and interconnection with Uganda”, according to the Ugandan statement. .

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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